Pacific (7-13) at UC Riverside (10-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 2nd, 11:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Student Recreation Center (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pacific 6-5, UCR 5-3. Away Record: Pacific 1-8, UCR 4-6. Neutral Record: Pacific 0-0, UCR 1-2. Conference Record: Pacific 3-5, UCR 4-4. Series Record: Pacific leads, 17-4.
GAME NOTES: The UC Riverside Highlanders attempt to avoid their fourth straight loss when they host the Pacific Tigers tonight in a Big West Conference clash.
Pacific had showed signs of turning things around after winning three of five following a seven-game losing streak. The Tigers fell to UC Santa Barbara last Saturday however, 56-53, to slip to 7-13 overall and just 3-5 in conference.
After getting off to a 4-1 start in BWC play, UC Riverside has dropped its last three games to fall to fourth place in the conference standings. The Highlanders dropped a 65-57 decision to UC Irvine last Saturday, and now sits 10-11 overall.
Pacific holds a commanding lead in the all-time series with UC Riverside, 17-4. The Tigers have won 14 of the last 16 meetings, but the Highlanders took the first bout this season, 64-57, in Stockton behind a 29-point game from Phil Martin.
Pacific struggled offensively in its loss to UCSB, scoring 53 points or fewer for the fourth time this season. While they held to Gauchos to just 33.3 percent shooting, the Tigers made good on a mere 31.2 percent of their field goal attempts. Lorenzo McCloud shot 6-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the foul line en route to 20 points, the third time this season he's topped the 20-point plateau. On the season, McCloud leads the team in scoring (11 ppg) and assists (3.4 apg), but he also brings some negative aspects to his game, shooting a disappointing 39.4 percent from the floor and 21.3 percent from three-point range, all while committing three turnovers per tilt. Travis Fulton (9.8 ppg) and Ross Rivera (9.7 ppg) fall just shy of the double-digit scorers' club and Fulton leads the team on the glass with 5.9 rpg. In general however, Pacific is a poor rebounding team, collecting 32.7 rpg, second-worst in the conference.
UC Riverside possess an even worse offense than Pacific, ranking last in the Big West in scoring (60.8 ppg). The trend continued in last Saturday's loss, and even though the Highlanders shot a respectable 45.1 percent from the floor, they committed 19 turnovers and went to the free-throw line just eight times. Martin continued his impressive season in the setback, connecting on 8- of-14 field goal attempts for 19 points while securing eight rebounds. Martin is the conference's second-leading scorer, netting 17.9 ppg while leading the team in rebounding (5.5 rpg), three-pointers per game (1.3) and free-throw percentage (.828). Kareem Nitoto (9.9 ppg) and Robert Smith (8.4 ppg) do their best in helping support Martin, but both are poor shooters from the floor, connecting on less than 40 percent of their total shots. UC Riverside doesn't move the ball very efficiently, ranking last in the league in assists (9.9 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8).
While neither team has played particularly well of late, UC Riverside has been effective on its home floor, while Pacific has notched just one road win on the year. Expect both trends to continue.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Riverside 64, Pacific 61
02/02 10:33:50 ET